Build your market share. Solidify your reputation in your niche. Find those leads that are exactly right for your company. Become the go-to business for your expertise.
To reach those kinds of goals, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy.
With the right strategy, programs that support the business goals and focus on the right target audiences can be identified and tactics executed.
What it’s Not
A marketing strategy is the 30,000-foot view all the way down to execution steps. A marketing strategy is not:
- A budget
- A list of campaigns throughout the year
- An editorial calendar
- A list of tradeshows and exhibiting events
- Having a website
Each of those items can play a part in a marketing strategy, but don’t guide the whole picture.
What it Aligns With
For a marketing strategy to be effective, it must align with your businesses’ strategic plan and goals.
It needs to align with:
- Business mission and values
- Company objectives
- Target market goals
How to Get Started
To begin building a marketing strategy, its best to first gather information that can help inform and guide the process.
Questions to answer to find this information include:
- What are my company’s strengths?
- What are my company’s weaknesses?
- Where do our opportunities lie?
- What threats do we face?
- Who are our target audiences?
- What do our target audiences think of our company?
- What is our culture like?
- What do our internal staff think of our company?
- What do our competitors look like?
- How do our competitors approach marketing?
- Who are the influencers in the market?
- What makes us different from our competition?
- What is the state of the market(s) we work in? Are they saturated? Growing? What are the market trends?
- How do we want to be perceived?
As you go about gathering this information, there are many tools to utilize. Hold meetings with senior staff to discuss company strengths and weaknesses. Distribute surveys to internal staff to find out what they think of the culture and how they would differentiate your company from its competitors. Hold interviews with longtime clients to understand why they’ve remained loyal. Review competitors’ websites, social media channels, advertising and public relations efforts. Learn more about your target audiences – Who are they? What problems do they have? Where do they consume information?
Once you have your information gathered, its time to work on the high-level parts of your strategy!
Build the marketing strategy by first setting measurable goals – and remember, make sure they align with the company’s larger business targets.
Then, fully define the state of your target markets. What trends will you be seeing in the next year and what is going on in those spaces you need to shape your strategy around? Next, create buyer personas for a few key members of each of your target markets. A buyer persona is a sample description of a decision-maker or key person in your audience – what they manage at work, what their life is like, where they consume news and information, and where their customer pain points lie. Then, move on to messaging and branding – what are the key messages your brand will revolve around, and which key points are you focusing on for each audience segment? What points are the most relevant for your buyer personas in each target market. Lastly, define how you’ll measure your strategy – will you track leads, closed sales, signed contracts, etc.?
The Program and Tactics
The tactics developed in this phase of planning are what most people think of when they think of a marketing strategy. This is what you will do to gain market share and build business. What you do must be informed by all relevant information in your industry.
Bringing the strategy to market can encompass any number of tactics:
- Email marketing
- Digital advertising
- Company location/fleet vehicle signage
- Social media channel content
- Traditional media (outdoor, print, etc.)
- Event sponsorships and tradeshow/event exhibiting
- Radio or TV advertising
- Digital or print publication creation
- Direct outreach
- Sales alignment
- Print marketing materials
- Website content
- Public relations/media relations
- Internal communications and initiatives
- And more!
The many different types of marketing tactics and content need to align cohesively. A strategic approach to each facet of a marketing strategy lends each element power, and by using topics and content created across multiple channels (with the right tone and use in each channel), including intentional calls to action and leveraging cross promotion, a marketing strategy builds momentum and drives the bottom line.
Remember, each marketing objective can be supported by one or more marketing tactics to increase touchpoints and awareness.
As you define your marketing strategy, you’ll need to include a budget for each section of your plan, as well as tracking and measurement steps you’ll take to discover the return-on-investment for each tactic. This will include allocating internal resources to focus on the right priorities.
A marketing plan, when done correctly, takes time to put together, but once its in place, you’ll know exactly what actions to take and how to monitor and measure if they’re working. No more spinning wheels in hopes that something sticks! And you and your team can be proactive, rather than reactive.
If you want to dig deeper into a marketing strategy or branding initiative, we’re here to help. Let us take the burden off you and put together a home-run plan that will keep your company moving forward while you can focus on running your business! Contact us today at 717.885.0014 or email [email protected].